Business Marketing Case Study

What type of training does House Handy provide new members of its sales force?

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The organization provides almost no training for new hires. It relies completely on self-directed learning by providing new hires product manuals and brochures for substantive information on its products. While the company does also assign mentors to each new hire, there are apparently no procedures or protocols for any training or instruction from those mentors; the way the organization conceives of the mentor-protege relationship, it is also self-directed in that the mentor plays only a passive role in responding to questions from the new hires. New hires are simply instructed to walk around the stores and observe the way things are done.

This approach is not particularly conducive to optimal performance or to the efficiency of personnel development within organizations of this type; complete reliance on self-directed learning is only appropriate within highly-trained professions and not within sales industries and organizations in which new employees do not already have extensive experience and formal training in their field (George & Jones, 2008).

What method or methods of recruiting and training would make the most sense for House Handy’s sales force? Justify your answers.

The principal problem with the House Handy approach is not necessarily in recruitment; it is mainly a function of the complete lack of any formal training process. That is not to say that it could not stand to change its approach to recruitment as well. On one hand, are a valuable source of potential employees for the organization; on the other hand, there is no reason that the company should focus exclusively on recent graduates with no appreciable professional experience in retail sales, marketing, or business management. The organization should continue to recruit new college graduates but it should also devote its recruitment resources to identifying and attracting professionals who are already working in the field and who have extensive professional experience in retail sales, marketing, and business management.

By far, the biggest weakness at House Handy is the complete absence of any . The environment at House Handy virtually ensures that any mistakes or unproductive processes at individual outlets will continue and be perpetuated by virtue of the instruction to all new hires to observe and learn from the practices in their particular location. It would make mush more sense to establish a uniform approach to business throughout the organization and to provide centralized training programs (Robbins & Judge, 2009) to ensure that all of the House Handy outlets operate the same way and that new hires learn the way the organization does business instead of absorbing whatever they observe in each location.

Assume you are the of Sales. How do you determine if you are getting a return on the money you invest in training the sales force? What specific items would you measure to make that determination?

The most direct way of measuring the return on investment of would be simply to compare the performance output of the new members of the House Handy sales force before and after implementation of the new training program (George & Jones, 2008). In this case, the fact that there is currently no real employee training program provides the objective data that can detail the relative performance of new hires. In addition, it is possible to track the organization’s retention record and the progression of new hires into higher levels (i.e. supervisory and management positions) based on past records. The implementation of a new employee training program will allow the organization to compare those previous data to the data corresponding to the same variables for employees who have undergone a formal employee training process. As far as specific items for measurement and comparison, one would primarily want to measure sales volume and career progression between the two groups of employees over similar time periods. Finally, the increased revenue associated with (presumably) higher sales volume after the training program could be weighed against the cost of the training program.


George, J. And Jones, G. (2008). Understanding and Managing Organizational Behavior.

Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Robbins, S.P. And Judge, T.A. (2009). Organizational Behavior. Upper Saddle River,

NJ: Prentice Hall.